National assembly 9 March passed constitutional amendment that would replace parliament’s upper house with regional councils; Senators 17 March rejected amendment. President Ould Abdel Aziz 22 March said amendment will be put to referendum “as quickly as possible” to overcome impasse.
On 3 August 2005, a junta led by Ely Ould Mohamed Vall, director-general of the Sûreté National, and Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, commander of the presidential security battalion, seized power in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania. The coup, which responded to the growing unpopularity and declining legitimacy of President Maaouya Ould Sid’Ahmed Taya’s regime, signifies a break with the past but also reflects significant continuity in terms both of method and personalities.
Disregarded by the media and international community, Mauritania is nonetheless experiencing a period of increasing instability. Evidence abounds and includes failed military coups, creation of a rebel movement, Foursan Taghyir ("The Knights of Change"), discovery of weapons caches in Nouakchott, and the arrest of Islamist leaders.
The Sahel, a vast region bordering the Sahara Desert and including the countries of Mali, Niger, Chad and Mauritania, is increasingly referred to by the U.S. military as "the new front in the war on terrorism".
Originally published in Slate Afrique